Automation Actions explained: What actions can you do in an ActiveCampaign automation?

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Actions are a series of processes that a contact proceeds through once they enter your automation. As a contact encounters each action in their automation path, the action is executed.

Actions can be external. For example, you can use actions to communicate with your contacts via email, SMS, or site message. They can also be internal. For example, you can use actions to update a deal or contact score, add the contact to another automation, or create goals.

In this article, we'll explain each automation action and share examples of how you can use them.

Take Note

  • When building automations, we recommend creating several smaller, manageable automations over one large one. Here is a best practices guide to learn more
  • Actions available in the automation builder depend on your plan level. For example, some customers may have access to all actions listed below, while others may not
  • If adding any actions to an “Active” automation, make sure to set the automation to “Inactive” first. Once you’re done editing the automation, set it back to “Active” so contacts can continue to enter your automation and proceed through your workflow

Sending options

You can use actions in this category to send messages.

“Send an email”

Available on Marketing Lite, Plus, Professional, and Enterprise.

This action sends an automated campaign to each contact who goes through this automation step. You can design the email. You can time the email by placing a wait condition before it. Note that the contact will need an email address to receive the message.

Contacts must have a list subscription to receive automated campaigns.

“Send a 1:1 email”

Available on Sales Professional and Enterprise.

You can send a 1:1 email with any connected email through an automation action. It will also allow sales-focused ActiveCampaign users to send automated emails to contacts who have not yet opted into your email marketing lists.

After connecting an email address to the ActiveCampaign in Deals > Connected Emails, you will see a new option to choose a Preferred Email Address. When %deal_owner_email% is selected as the "From Email" in the 1:1 Email action block, the email address set as the Preferred Email Address will be the one that appears in all automated 1:1 emails. However, you may choose to send from any connected email account in the dropdown box.

Within this automation action, you will be able to:

  • Thread replies within the same automation
  • Set a CC and/or BCC (use a comma to separate multiple email addresses)
  • Use contact, deal, and account personalization tags for the Subject Line and body of the email
  • Use Bold, Italics, Underline, Hyperlinks, Bullets, and Numbered Lists in the body of the email

This automation action is under "Sending Options" and "CRM." You can use any trigger with this automation action. Learn how to send 1:1 sales emails with automation.

Note: If you’re using a non-deal related trigger in your automation, you need to select a specific email address as the “From Email” sender. You will not be able to use the “%deal_owner_email%” option.

“Send a site message”

Available on Marketing Professional and Enterprise.

This action lets you display messages to an opted-in contact when they visit a specific page on your site or any page of your site. You may want to use this to display information about a new offering or a coupon code for a product to get your contact to complete a purchase. Read more about this action and how it works.

In order to use this feature, you must have site tracking installed and enabled on your site.

“Send an SMS”

Available on Marketing Plus, Professional, and Enterprise as an add-on.

Available on Sales Plus, Professional, and Enterprise as an add-on.

When a contact reaches this action in your automation, a text message will be sent to them.

“Send a notification email”

Available on Marketing Lite, Plus, Professional, and Enterprise.

Available on Sales Plus, Professional, and Enterprise. 

This action sends a notification email to someone in your company when an action you specify occurs.

Conditions and Workflow

You can use actions in this category to add logic to your automations and/or manage other automations.

If using Conditional Wait, If/Else, Split, or Goal actions with the "Has opened" or "Has not opened" condition: Contacts who use the Apple Mail app with iOS 15 with Mail Privacy Protection will not correctly meet this condition. To learn more, visit ActiveCampaign and Apple iOS 15 Mail Privacy Protection.

“Wait”

Available on Marketing Lite, Plus, Professional, and Enterprise.

Available on Sales Plus, Professional, and Enterprise. 

The wait action pauses the automation for the contact at this step. You can specify how long they wait before proceeding to the next action in their automation path.

There are two types of wait actions that you can create:

  • Timed wait
    Contacts will wait in this action for a period of time you specify, then proceed to the next action in the automation.
  • Conditional wait
    Contacts will wait in this action until certain conditions are met, for example, until they perform a certain behavior or until you collect certain information about them. Wait conditions are created with the segment builder. In addition, you can set a time limit for how long a contact will wait in this action if they don't meet the conditions to proceed.

“If/Else”

Available on Marketing Lite, Plus, Professional, and Enterprise.

Available on Sales Plus, Professional, and Enterprise. 

An “If/Else” action creates a fork in your automation. There are two paths in this fork: A "Yes" path and a "No" path.

The “Yes” path is for contacts who match the conditions you define and then “No” path is for contacts who do not match the conditions. "If/Else" conditions are created with the segment builder.

This action is useful for treating contacts differently depending on a variety of factors. You are able to create forks based on any condition available to you in the segment builder, including actions, tags, custom fields, Site & Event Tracking data, 1:1 engagement, and more.

“Split”

Available on Marketing Professional and Enterprise.

Available on Sales Professional and Enterprise.

The “Split” action allows you to create split test automations.

There are two types of split actions:

  • Even split
    A traditional A/B split test determines a winning path.
  • Conditional split
    This split will send all contacts down one path until specific conditions are met and then a different path after. This is not a traditional split test and no winning path is determined. Conditions for this split are created with the segment builder.

“Go to”

Available on Marketing Lite, Plus, Professional, and Enterprise.

Available on Sales Plus, Professional, and Enterprise. 

The “Go to” action allows you to move contacts to another step of the automation. You can use it to bring contacts back to a branch or create loops.

  There is a limit of 10 runs per “Go to” action in a 24 hour period.

“Goal”

Available on Marketing Lite, Plus, Professional, and Enterprise.

Available on Sales Plus, Professional, and Enterprise. 

The "Goal" action allows contacts to jump from their current location in your automation to that goal step if they meet the conditions to do so.

Conditions for this action are created with the segment builder. You can use this to begin other automations, send targeted messages to contacts, adjust contact and deal scores, and even add a contact to a specific step in your automation upon entry.

“Start an automation”

Available on Marketing Lite, Plus, Professional, and Enterprise.

Available on Sales Plus, Professional, and Enterprise. 

The “Start an automation” action will start an automation you specify when the contact reaches that step.

“End this automation”

Available on Marketing Lite, Plus, Professional, and Enterprise.

Available on Sales Plus, Professional, and Enterprise. 

The “End this automation” action is an indication that the automation ends at this point.

Even without the “End this automation” action, your automation would still end when your contact reaches the last step of the automation. This action is more of a “note” that there are no more steps for the contact to take in your automation.

“End other automation”

Available on Marketing Lite, Plus, Professional, and Enterprise.

Available on Sales Plus, Professional, and Enterprise. 

The “End other automation” action stops the contact from running through all automations or an automation you specify. 

“Webhook”

Available on Marketing Lite, Plus, Professional, and Enterprise.

Available on Sales Plus, Professional, and Enterprise. 

The “Webhook” action sends a webhook to another application, allowing you to automate actions with apps outside of ActiveCampaign.

For example, you can use this action to send a webhook to have a support account created with your helpdesk software when a new order is received.

"Perform Math"

Available on Marketing Lite, Plus, Professional, and Enterprise.

Available on Sales Plus, Professional, and Enterprise. 

The "Perform Math" action lets you execute calculations on existing custom contact fields or custom deal fields. With this action, you can adjust the numerical value of an existing field using either the add, subtract, multiply, or divide math function.

Customers with a Sales Plus, Professional, or Enterprise plan can use the "Perform Math" action with custom deal fields.

Contacts

This category of actions gives you a variety of actions related to managing contacts.

“Subscribe”

Available on Marketing Lite, Plus, Professional, and Enterprise.

The “Subscribe” action adds a contact to a list. This will give the contact an "Active" status. For more info on contact statuses, visit "Contact statuses explained."

  This action will affect automation list associations and unsubscribes. Learn more about how to manage unsubscribes and list associations in automations.

“Unsubscribe”

Available on Marketing Lite, Plus, Professional, and Enterprise.

The “Unsubscribe” action removes the contact from a list. For instance, when a new customer makes an order, you could remove them from your “prospect” list and, using the “Subscribe” action, add them to your “customer” list.

"Convert"

Available on Marketing Professional and Enterprise.

The "Convert" automation action enables a contact to trigger a conversion while in an automation. In this action, you can select an existing conversion to trigger or create a new conversion.

“Update a contact”

Available on Marketing Lite, Plus, Professional, and Enterprise.

Available on Sales Plus, Professional, and Enterprise. 

The “Update contact” action lets you add data to the contact record. You could use this action to add data to a custom field. For instance, you could update a “Status” field with “Promoter” if they share a campaign on social media.

“Add a tag”

Available on Marketing Lite, Plus, Professional, and Enterprise.

Available on Sales Plus, Professional, and Enterprise. 

The “Add tag” action will apply a tag to a contact when they reach this step.

“Remove a tag”

Available on Marketing Lite, Plus, Professional, and Enterprise.

Available on Sales Plus, Professional, and Enterprise. 

The “Remove tag” action will remove a tag from a contact when they reach this step.

“Add a note”

Available on Marketing Lite, Plus, Professional, and Enterprise.

Available on Sales Plus, Professional, and Enterprise. 

The “Add note” action attaches a note to a contact record.

This is useful for adding information through the marketing or sales process. For example, if a lead is passed to the Sales team, a Sales representative can read notes about the contact. This helps them better understand the contact when engaging with them so they can close the sale.

"Add to Facebook Custom Audience"

Available on Marketing Plus, Professional, and Enterprise. 

This action is available with the Facebook Custom Audience integration.

This action will add contacts to a Facebook Custom Audience you specify. In addition, this action will let you create a new custom audience. If you're creating a new Facebook Custom Audience, it will be of the "Customer List" subtype.

"Remove from Facebook Custom Audience"

Available on Marketing Plus, Professional, and Enterprise.

This action is available with the Facebook Custom Audience integration.

This action will remove contacts from the Facebook Custom Audience you specify.

“Adjust a contact score”

Available on Marketing Plus, Professional, and Enterprise.

Available on Sales Plus, Professional, and Enterprise. 

The “Adjust score” action moves a contact score up or down when they reach this action in your automation. If the proceeding actions indicated sales-ready behavior, you could add points to their score. You could give out negative points if the contact unsubscribes or fails to engage (open or click) your campaigns.

Note that you can also set the contact score to a specific value or reset the score to 0 with this action.

CRM

This category gives you a variety of actions related to managing deals.

“Add a deal”

Available on Sales Plus, Professional, and Enterprise.

The “Add deal” action creates a deal record for an opportunity. This action lets you automatically create deals for contacts as they reach sales readiness. You may want to use this action with a “Score changes” trigger so that when a contact score reaches a threshold score, a deal record is automatically created and placed in your pipeline.

“Update a title”

Available on Sales Plus, Professional, and Enterprise.

The “Update title” action will edit a deal’s title.

“Update a status”

Available on Sales Plus, Professional, and Enterprise.

The “Update status” action can be used to change a deal’s status to “Open,” “Won,” or “Lost.” You could use this action to mark a deal as “Won” when the associated contact makes a purchase.

“Update a deal owner”

Available on Sales Plus, Professional, and Enterprise.

The “Update owner” action will change who a deal is assigned to. You could use this action to change ownership as the deal reaches a point where there is a hand-off. For instance, as deals are qualified and near closing, the deal could be handed off to a more experienced sales rep.

“Update a value”

Available on Sales Plus, Professional, and Enterprise.

The “Update value” action changes a deals estimated value.

“Update a stage”

Available on Sales Plus, Professional, and Enterprise.

The “Update stage” action moves a deal to another stage of your pipeline. This action is a crucial part of automating your sales process so you may use it often. When a contact performs a certain behavior, such as replies to an email or visits a link you sent them to, you could move them further down the pipeline.

"Update a custom field"

Available on Sales Plus, Professional, and Enterprise.

This action updates the value of a custom deal field. You can use this action to automatically enter a new value, copy data from an existing contact field, or clear the value for the custom deal field.

"Update an account field"

Available on Marketing Professional and Enterprise. 

Available on Sales Plus, Professional, and Enterprise. 

The “Update an account field” action allows you to add or modify an account level field value. You could use this action to add data to a custom field.

"Add Account Note"

Available on Marketing Professional and Enterprise. 

Available on Sales Plus, Professional, and Enterprise. 

The “Add Account Note” action adds a note to the account record. When configuring this action, you can use personalization tags from contacts, deals, and accounts to insert dynamic values into the note text. Once a contact reaches this action in your automation, a note is added to the contact's account record.

"Update an account owner"

Available on Marketing Professional and Enterprise. 

Available on Sales Plus, Professional, and Enterprise. 

This action updates the owner of an account.

When contacts move through this action in your automation, the account owner for the account the contact is associated with will be updated. You can use this action to switch account ownership from an Account Executive to a Relationship Manager or change ownership if a contact changes locations.

"Send a 1:1 email"

Available on Sales Professional and Enterprise.

You can send a 1:1 email with any connected email through an automation action. 

After connecting an email address to ActiveCampaign in Deals > Connected Emails, you will see a new option to choose a Preferred Email Address. When %deal_owner_email% is selected as the "From Email" in the 1:1 Email action block, the email address set as the Preferred Email Address will be the one that appears in all automated 1:1 emails. However, you may send from any connected email account in the dropdown box.

Within this action, you can:

  • Thread replies within the same automation
  • Set a CC and/or BCC (use a comma to separate multiple email addresses)
  • Use contact, deal, and account personalization tags for the Subject Line and body of the email
  • Use Bold, Italics, Underline, Hyperlinks, Bullets, and Numbered Lists in the body of the email

This action is under "Sending Options" and "CRM." You can use any trigger with this automation action. Learn how to send 1:1 sales emails with automation.

Note: If you’re using a non-deal related trigger in your automation, select a specific email address as the “From Email” sender. You will not be able to use the “%deal_owner_email%” option.

“Add a deal task”

Available on Sales Plus, Professional, and Enterprise.

The “Add a deal task” action creates new to-do items for your Deals. This action is useful for staying organized and ensuring no lead falls through the cracks. You can automatically add tasks as the pipeline stage changes and assign the task to any user with permission to access the deal's pipeline so that all associated work has task reminders created.

  The “Account Owner” in the “Assign to” field is the owner of the primary contact’s account.

“Add a note”

Available on Sales Plus, Professional, and Enterprise.

The “Add note” action adds a note to the deal record. (The “Add note” action under the “Contacts” category adds notes to the contact record.)

“Complete a task”

Available on Sales Plus, Professional, and Enterprise.

The “Complete task” action closes a task by marking it as completed. You can use this action to automate your workday and stay organized by having tasks closed as you or the contact perform certain behaviors.

“Adjust a deal score”

Available on Sales Plus, Professional, and Enterprise.

The “Adjust score” action moves a deal score up or down.

Note that you can also set the contact score to a specific value or reset the score to 0 with this action.

"Add Contact to Account"

Available on Marketing Professional and Enterprise. 

Available on Sales Plus, Professional, and Enterprise. 

The "Add Contact to Account" action lets you create and add contacts to a new or existing account.

With this action, you can automatically assign new contacts to existing accounts, create new accounts from data collected from a contact record, or clean up and maintain appropriate data hygiene related to accounts and contacts.

Salesforce

Available on Marketing Professional and Enterprise. 

Salesforce automation actions are available with the ActiveCampaign Salesforce integration.

This category gives you a variety of actions related to creating contacts and leads in Salesforce.

"Create a contact in Salesforce"

When a contact reaches this step in your automation, they will be added to your Salesforce account as a contact.

Learn how to use the "Create a contact in Salesforce" action

"Create a lead in Salesforce"

When a contact reaches this step in your automation, they will be added to your Salesforce account as a lead.

Learn how to use the "Create a lead in Salesforce" action

"Add Contact to Salesforce campaign"

When a lead contact reaches this step in your ActiveCampaign automation, they will be added to your Salesforce campaign. 

Learn how to use the "Add Contact to Salesforce campaign" action

CX Apps

This category gives you a variety of branded actions you can perform in your automation using a 3rd party application or integration. For example, you can add a contact to Google Sheets, send an SMS message using Twilio, create an update contacts in Zendesk Sell, and much more. 

When you use any one of these actions in your automation, we'll walk you through how to set up the connection between your account and the 3rd part integration. 

The availability of these actions depends on your plan. 

More resources to help you create Automations

Now that you are familiar with automation actions, you may want to learn about how the automation workflow builder works or go through a walkthrough of creating an automation so that you can see how combining triggers and actions lets you create fully automated sequences of events.

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